Sunday, February 9, 2020

Cactus Garden at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Cacti are a staple of the plant life at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM), seeing how it's smack in the middle of the Sonora Desert. As a visitor, you have plenty of opportunity to see cacti no matter where you go in the park. But there's once place no cactophile should miss: the Cactus Garden. It's small, essentially just a loop trail, but it has almost 140 different species.

The Cactus Garden was dedicated in 1965 in honor of John Haag, curator of plants at the ASDM from 1957 to 1959. Haag founded the Tucson Cactus Club (now the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society) in 1960, and volunteers from the TCSS have helped maintain and improve it ever since. Here is an interesting article about the 50th anniversary of the Cactus Garden and how it has evolved over the years.

Just like the Agave Garden (the subject of a future post), the Cactus Garden is destination I return to on every visit to the ASDM. Not only is it full of special plants, they're staged beautifully. Here is an interactive map of the plantings.

Opuntia engelmannii and Ferocactus diguetii

Steel planters at the garden entrance

I've seen many Corten planters, but these are among the most unique


My favorite bed in the Cactus Garden. The path in the very back is the main path that skirts the perimeter of the Cactus Garden, the more prominent path is the loop trail through the Cactus Garden.
The main players here are Ferocactus pilosus var. pilosus and totem pole cactus (monstrose form of Lophocereus schottii



Wider view from the other direction, with very purple Opuntia macrocentra in the foreground


Ferocactus pilosus var. pilosus

Ferocactus pilosus var. pilosus

This strawberry pot filled with red- and golden-spined barrel cactus is probably the most frequently shared Instagram subject at the ASDM
  
Golden-spined form of Ferocactus wislizeni
  
Ferocactus rectispinus

Ferocactus wislizeni

Mammillaria geminispina

Mammillaria brandegeei

Mammillaria nicholii

Mammillaria nicholii

Selenicereus vagens, an epiphytic cactus from southern Sonora state. It grows in the branches of trees and hangs down... 

...eventually forming a dangle of stems on the ground

Three clumps of organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) with saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)

Cylindropuntia bigelovii and Cylindropuntia × campii

Opuntia macrocentra

Opuntia macrocentra
  

Mammillaria sp.

Rainbow hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus rigidissimus var. rubispinus)
   
Chenille prickly pear (Opuntia aciculata)

Chenille prickly pear (Opuntia aciculata)

Opuntia pailiana 'Woolly Jacket'
  
Opuntia pailiana 'Woolly Jacket'

Chainfruit colla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) in front of ocotillo in front of saguaro

RELATED POSTS:

December 2019 Arizona trip index


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8 comments:

  1. The colors are just beautiful in this post ! I can imagine how splendid it must have been to be there.

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  2. The Opuntia 'Woolly Jacket' and the Selinicereus are very cool. Beautiful photos. Are the colours so intense because of colder weather?

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    1. Yes. The colder weather really brings out the colors in many succulents, esp. those purple prickly pears.

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  3. The plants were definitely staged with an artist's eye. I was surprised to see so many large specimens in relatively shallow pots. That strawberry pot is a hoot.

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    1. I was reminded once again that many desert plants have very shallow root systems.

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  4. Oh wow, thank you for this! Exactly what my eyes and soul needed on a chilly, foggy, February morning in the PNW. Gorgeous photos Gerhard.

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  5. Yes the strawberry pot is a gem. Some beauties in that garden; must be stunning when multiple species come into flower. Enjoyed your photos and comments.

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